city of [not just] brotherly love

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DSC_6368DSC_6449 DSC_6433 DSC_6413 DSC_6393This summer, hubs and I got to spend an amazing weekend in Philadelphia, thanks to the lovely wedding gifts of some wonderful friends.  We stayed in the Hotel Monaco, and had a lovely room overlooking Independence Park.  Waking up to the sounds of the bells ringing from the very building our country was founded in is not a bad way to start the day, let me tell you. (The first shot was the view from our room.)

One of my favorite parts of the trip?  Enjoying all the pop-up parks that make their appearance in the summer in the city.  We visited the Elipse and played corn hole and Jenga while we ate food from local food trucks and relaxed beneath the trees in a temporary beer garden.  We hung out in hammocks along Penn’s Landing in the Spruce Street Park while enjoying lemonade cocktails and watching container ships float by.  For very few dollars, we were able to stroll the city and enjoy the warm summer nights and meet locals and fellow travelers.  The whole experience was completely wonderful, and we can’t wait to go back again.

 

Virginia is for… History Nerds

DSC_5683 DSC_5685 DSC_5691 DSC_5692 DSC_5715 DSC_5722 DSC_5727 DSC_5731 DSC_5733 DSC_5739 DSC_5741 DSC_5755 DSC_5757 DSC_5791Our little Gracie is a history buff.  She is the kid that gets SUPER excited when she hears about a field trip to a history museum.  When it’s her day to choose something for the family to do together, she will pick a tour of a historic home.  When we asked her what she would like to do for a weekend getaway, she immediately requested visiting Jamestown.  She studied Pocahontas in 2nd grade, and has wanted to see it ever since.  We explored both the Jamestown Settlement, where replicas of the fort and the ships the carried the colonists have been built. They have also created a replica of a Powhatan village for us to explore and a beautiful museum.  We did a guided tour and then went back and did more roaming on our own.  Grace even picked up a deer hoof and used it to help clean the fur off a deer hide that will be worn by guides. I couldn’t believe she picked that thing up, because there was no way I was going near it.

After exploring, we had a picnic in the outdoor eating area, and then headed over to the Historic Jamestown Settlement operated by the National Parks Service.  This was Hubs’ favorite part of the day.  Getting to walk around the perimeter of the original fort was pretty cool.  The archeological sites are amazing, and seeing what historians have been able to excavate from the site is incredible.  The foundations of some of the original buildings are still there, and cross mark the burial sites of some of the original settlers.  To think that we were in the place where the first Europeans stepped foot in the New World was pretty amazing, and pretty sobering to think about how their arrival must have appeared to the people who where already here.

Grace’s favorite part of the day was visiting the original glass house and the demonstrations.  We watched the craftsman create onion-shaped wine bottles, and even brought one home as a souvenir.  We finished the day walking along the James River and dipping our feet in the chilly water.  All-in-all it was a perfect day. Beautiful weather, fun exploring, and all done on a budget.

 

Beer Me

A few weeks ago, my good friend Carm and her sister planned a lovely beer tour of the City of Brotherly Love for her brother-in-law. I don’t remember all the places we went, but I remember that we rode around on a school bus, and that they thought of everything.  They even made labels for everyone in case we got lost and needed to be returned, and made snacks we couldn’t lose.

DSC_4484 DSC_4487My favorite stop of the day was Neshaminy Creek Brewing.  Their pumpkin ale was a-mazing, but there was pretty much nothing I didn’t like.  Carm filled up a growler for us to enjoy later.

DSC_4495I was especially in love with some of the beer that they ferment in bourbon and whiskey barrels. I don’t know enough about beer to actually describe what it does to the finished product other than to say me likey, and they are fun to photograph.

DSC_4492 DSC_4489One of our stops included a pretty graphic view of the excrement that comes out of the barrels as this goodness ferments.

DSC_4534 DSC_4529Hubs decided it might be a great idea to go ahead and accept the challenge to go ahead and give this stuff a taste.  Check out the series of shots to follow.

DSC_4504 DSC_4509 DSC_4519 DSC_4511Apparently it wasn’t half bad.

My favorite shot of the day is still this one.  I love the way that no matter what else is happening, Carm always looks fabulous.  Also, it’s typical that all the dudes that have no idea that a camera is pointing their direction.  Dudes.

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knit one

DSC_4461 DSC_4464I stop in at yarn shops whenever I travel.  It’s become a habit.  Every time we will be in a place for a weekend for a wedding, or other get away, he knows to just lug the iPad, find a corner somewhere, and let me explore.  I found this great shop called Knit One in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh thanks to a convenient request for a bathroom request from Gracie girl, and managed to walk about with a couple of skeins of awesomeness.  This shop was HUGE.  Tremendous selection, friendly and helpful staff, and plenty of knitted goodness to touch and inspire.  The sitting areas are large and cozy, and samples run the gamut from simple to incredibly complex. You can tell they welcome all kinds of knitters in this place.

I can say that this place will be a regular stop on my drives to visit my family, and next time I’ll be sure to take some shots of the inside of the shop.  I didn’t think of it until I was back on the road, and I was so bummed!

I have a bunch of other WIP’s that I absolutely MUST finish, but I hope to cast on with these babies soon.  They are just too gorgeous to leave in a stash for long.

update. wedding.

A few weeks ago I wrote about our little courthouse ceremony.  You can see some photos here. On August 1, 2013, our family gathered for a week together in Hilton Head.  We swam, built sandcastles, ate delicious food, played cards, and oh, got hitched.  We hired an awesome photographer named Meredith from Island Love Photography to take some family portraits, but I wanted to share some of the images from the week that I loved.

DSC_2507 DSC_2488 DSC_2479 DSC_2463 DSC_2448We were sure to take in a meal at the famous Salty Dog Cafe, where we gathered for some Shirley Temples and margaritas on the deck while we waited for a table.  The little guy is my nephew Finn, who is about as cute a little boy as you can imagine. He loves to snuggle, and he especially loved Jacob.  The gorgeous couple flanking Hubs is his mom and stepdad, two people who we both love more than words can say, and from whom Seth has learned so much about true love.

DSC_2511 DSC_2785 DSC_2777Many hours were spent poolside by all the kiddos, and Hubs of course supplied them with combustible material.  What party isn’t made more fun by fireworks, really?

DSC_2722 DSC_2614 DSC_2530 DSC_2513On the night of our “rehearsal,” we presented our kids with gifts to celebrate their new family, and to express to them what an important part of this love they are.  We are so happy to have these amazing kids. They truly give our lives purpose, and remind us what’s most important in life.

DSC_2804 DSC_2798 DSC_2788 DSC_2830 DSC_2859After a ceremony on the beach, we came back to the house to a catered dinner and some music and relaxation.  I have never had a catered event before, and let me tell you, it was GLORIOUS!  The food, catered by Celebrations Events, was amazing, and the service was outstanding.  Everything was beautifully presented, delivered on time and as described, and with a smile.  The dishes were even done for us by the end of the night!  The cupcakes were done by Sweet Caroline Cupcakes, and it will be a stop every time we return here.  They even made a little cake for us to cut, custom made with chocolate cake, peanut butter filling, and cream cheese frosting.  It was completely out of sight.

DSC_2894-2Hubs and I spent our wedding night at the Sea Pines Resort, and we just couldn’t stop smiling all night. It was such a beautiful event.  The last shot is the portrait I took just before we walked out the door the next morning to get breakfast – my first shot of my Hubs.  He looks happy, doesn’t he?  I hope he looks at me like that forever.

I loved our little wedding, and wouldn’t have changed a thing.  Best part?  If you take out the cost of the house, we spend about $3500 for the whole thing, and that’s pretty sweet, too!  Anyone else out there do a small family wedding that they loved?

q

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My very best friend moved to Washington State a few years ago, and she had her first baby almost a year ago in December.  With moving and wedding, we couldn’t get out to see her and meet her beautiful little man. I was determined, however, to meet him before he turned one, so I made a whirlwind trip out to the other Washington to meet Quentin.  I spent 72 hours getting as much waving “hi!” in as was humanly possible.  This little guy is as sweet as they come, and my friend makes motherhood look amazing.  I could not be happier for their family, and I was so happy that I got to take some shots of them together at Q’s very first visit to a pumpkin patch.

two views

DSC_1250 DSC_1256My nephew and I drove all the way to Florida last week in order to do the final clean out of my dad’s place down there.  We took the opportunity to stop in Savannah and the Savannah College of Art and Design.  Jordan is considering a future in Graphic Design, and friends in the industry can not say enough about their program.

Sadly, much like my last visit to Savannah, it was raining.  A lot.  I couldn’t juggle an umbrella and a camera and pay attention on the tour, so I was left to nurse my disappointment with a stop at the Back in the Day Bakery as we drove out of town.

In addition to the best chocolate cupcake I have ever had, I got to soak in their beautiful surroundings. The table we used to munch on killer mac and cheese and cupcakes was decorated with simple nested mixing bowls. They looked as if they were staged for some baking, casually waiting.  I loved the color and how well they set the mood for the place.  I started shooting them from the side, but quickly decided I could get a better shot of the range of color from a little higher.  It’s amazing how a little change in perspective can create a completely new experience. I like the result.